This article has been submitted by Prithvi Joshi for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think it’s a good read, ‘Like’ the article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘Comments’ section below.
The 10 year old boy looked with desperate eyes towards the school going children. How much he adored those days! He was always the first one to reach the gates of the Public School, Mumbai. But he never thought that he would not be seeing the gates of the school again.
A fatal accident of his father turned the tables for him. It started with his dropping out of school and supporting his mother to earn a meager sum. It was a hand to mouth existence for quite some time. The situation worsened to such an extent that they had to sell off their house and live in the slum as they had no relatives to support them.
But with the government finally showering some kindness over the poor families by giving a ‘Right to Education’ to them, there was a glimmer of hope. After much hue and cry, several orders of the government and countless pleas by the boy’s mother, he was admitted to a reputed school in Mumbai.
A new journey started for the boy, but it was a gloomy one.
He was greeted with a tag of ‘slum boy’ from his peers on the very first day of school.
As an introvert, he didn’t talk to anybody and kept sitting in one corner of the class.
As days passed by, the intensity of satire over poor financial conditions grew to such an extent that the boy completely broke down.
Boy- I will not go school tomorrow.
Mother- Why, what happened? Did anybody say something to you? Tell me.
Boy-These rich kids call me names and talk bad about us. The earlier school was better than this one, Mamma.
Mother- Look son, you will have to adjust to the new surroundings. Besides, here you will get more opportunities than the previous school. So, cheer up.
The boy didn’t sleep that night. The day’s happenings kept hovering in his mind. He had mixed feelings of rage and helplessness. Rage was over the satire of his family and helplessness because of his inability to do something over the matter. After all, he was poor. Who would listen to him? He had to find a way to give those students a deserving answer.
He grew restless but soon an idea struck him.
The next day he was the first one to reach school, full of enthusiasm and vigor. He knew what was to be done. He went and sat on the 1st bench of the class.
He had found the enlightened way. He made knowledge his biggest weapon against his foes which would enlighten his path to glory.
The boy toiled to make his dream come true. A few months later, the results of Class 12 Board examinations were declared and no doubt the boy had topped the ICSE/ISC Certificate examinations with 97.6%.
The teachers were awestruck over the results of the boy. They had clearly not expected this.
Obviously, his mother had no one stopping her form delivering sweets in the entire slum. The slum joined in the celebrations and had a good time. But the boy knew that the journey had just begun.
Over a span of time, the boy grew intellectually which earned him a place among the Aditya Birla Scholars and Fulbright scholar to name a few.
When he came back to India after becoming a successful businessman, he was invited to a reputed college’s annual day to deliver an inspirational speech as he had grown to be a motivational guru as well.
The speech was an epitome of his journey. He said,
“For a poor boy to succeed is considered to be rare because nobody really expects them to do so.
They are there to fulfill the place of their parents who have been poor and lived in slums.
They are mocked, racially abused and exploited, they are considered a blot on the fairy world of the rich but let me tell you, they are the ones who are capable enough to fulfill the dreams they see and that is all that is required. And I believe that poor have a way to shut the mouths of the richer brutes in only one way that is through KNOWLEDGE because knowledge doesn’t see CLASS. It only sees the enlightened.
And for this sole reason I will consider my journey complete only when I see myself empowering those from the slums to awake and reform the society, people who can toil to reach the sky, because for them, the sky is just the beginning.”
– Prithvi Joshi